Jenbacher Launches Gas Engine For Data Centers

By Jack Burke29 October 2019

Jenbacher announced the launch of the 3 MW J620 fast-start natural gas generator designed specifically for data centers.

Jenbacher, a part of INNIO, said that data centers consume about 3% of the total energy generated globally and the challenge is to deliver that electricity in a more reliable and environmentally sound way. The Jenbacher J620 fast-start natural gas generator is designed to not only deliver significant advantages for data center backup operations, but also provide benefits when running parallel to the grid and in island mode, the company said.

The J620 fast-start natural gas generator provides full load under 45 seconds, along with the additional benefits that come with the ability to run on a variety of operating modes, the company said.

Jenbacher touted the availability of natural gas from the grid, which enables data center operators to avoid limited run times and generator refueling. Compared to standby diesel-fueled generators, they also offer emissions reductions of up to 90% for nitrous oxide (NOx) and up to 25% for carbon dioxide (CO2), giving users the flexibility of longer run times, Jenbacher said. Together with the generator’s fast transient response, users can monetize what otherwise would be stranded assets. Lower emissions can also provide greater run times, this allows natural gas generators to become assets. As the electric grid decarbonizes with increasing renewables, there is greater need for fast-start resources to provide balancing and ancillary service solutions. The Jenbacher J620 fast-start natural gas generator can engage in demand response, curtailable tariffs and/or emergency stand by participation, and avoid coincident peak charges. Add in lower, stable natural gas fuel costs, and it is easy to see how significant money can be made by savvy data center operators working in partnership with energy providers

“Along with the surge in data center electricity demand, the share of renewable energy is also increasing,” said Carlos Lange, president and CEO at INNIO. “Fast-start resources like our new Jenbacher J620 solution can balance and accommodate the instability of the electric grid and give data center operators the opportunity to better monetize assets.”

With most of the infrastructure being below ground, the natural gas grid is inherently more reliable than the electric grid for fuel supply to the J620 fast start generator.

As compared to standby diesel-fueled generators, the J620 fast-start natural gas generator provides a reduction of up to 90% for NOx and 25% for CO2 making the solution more environmentally friendly and economic. With selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions technologies, NOx—which is frequently the limiting factor for permitting large-scale data centers—can be further reduced. As net global growth in data center electricity continues, these significant emissions reductions provided by natural gas generation will have increasing value for data center operators.

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